This Saturday, there were topnotch New York teams that earned victories at the iS8/Nike Spring High School Classic. These programs, which are part of the premier, perennial talents at the tournament, always give spectators something to look forward to during pool play. Despite the challenges that faced them this weekend, these New York teams pulled out impressive wins against the competition.
Let's take a look at the two New York teams that went 2-0: Juice All-Stars and the New York Panthers.
Juice All-Stars Climbs South Mountain, 64-57
Juice All-Stars (Brooklyn, N.Y.) led South Mountain Select (N.J.) by as much as 10 points, 14-4, early in the first quarter. And, by the end of the first quarter, Juice was still leading 20-12. Juice seemed to own the flow of the game, denying South Mountain Select any opportunities to surge forward. For every action by South Mountain, there was an equal and opposite reaction by Juice; most notably, from Juice's Isaiah Whitehead (team-high 25 points).
In the second quarter, Juice continued its drilling, earning an 11-point advantage, 31-20, midway through the phase. However, South Mountain's Khalid Muhamed (game-high 27 points) successfully led his squad back within competitor's status by bringing his team to within one point, 31-30.
Juice led 33-30 at halftime.
Juice and South Mountain traded buckets in the third quarter and fought through to the end of the period. Ultimately, though South Mountain Select tied the contest at 53 in the fourth quarter, Juice - led by Whitehead - closed out the matchup on an 11-4 run.
Juice wrapped up the day 2-0 after a forfeit by Central Jersey Each One Teach One (C.J.E.O.T.O.) gave the Brooklyn, N.Y. squad another victory. South Mountain Select dropped to 1-1 as of press date.
Panthers (Seniors) Trump Playaz (Soph) Late, 69-58
The N.Y. Panthers did not put forth a performance worthy of a "Seniors" designation for much of the game, struggling to get over a one or two-possession hump against Playaz Club (Soph) (N.J.) for about 24 minutes. Then, the Panthers started to click in the fourth quarter, slowing the momentum of the talented Playaz (Soph).
Playaz led 26-22 at halftime.
In the second half, the Panthers tied the game at 28, but the Playaz, led by Marcus Townes (team-high 17 points), recaptured the advantage, leading by as much as four points, 42-38. By the 6:06 mark of the fourth phase, the Panthers took the lead for good on the completion of a conventional three-point play by Malik Nichols (15 points).
The play gave the Panthers a four-point advantage, 50-46.
Panthers' Tyler Ennis (game-high 18 points) and Melvin Johnson (15 points) helped the squad maintain and extend the advantage. The Panthers earned their largest lead of the game when an up-and-under by Ennis with about two minutes remaining in the game lifted the New York squad by 15 points, 65-50. As the Panthers hit their groove, the Playaz (Soph) seemed to run out of steam.
Panthers (Seniors) wrapped up the day 2-0 after a forfeit by Manhattan Sports Academy gave the New York squad another victory. N.J. Playaz Club (Soph) dropped to 1-1, as of press date.